low lying land

Untranslatable Irish Words Part 2
  • Comhardadh - Rhyme where the first syllable of each word has the same vowel
  • Criathróir - Animal sure-footed on boggy ground.
  • Dearglach - Red glow (in sky).
  • Driongán - Animal in poor condition.
  • Eadra - Morning milking time
  • Feimíneach - Tail-eating animal.
  • Foiseach - Grass inaccessible to mowing machine; grass growing along margin of field.
  • Fóisí -  One who does things by fits and starts.
  • Fuarlach - Flooding from heavy rainfall; low-lying marginal land subject to flooding 
  • Gormánach - Young seal after shedding white baby-coat.
  • Iombhá - Place where there is danger of drowning.
  • Ioscaid -  Hollow at back of knee. 
  • Ithir - Land on which root crops have been grown in previous season.
  • Ladhar - Space between toes or fingers.
  • Méidhe - Neck; stump of neck, neck of headless body.
  • Sabhsaí - Person who works in all weathers.
  • Séanas - Gap between upper front teeth.
  • Rosc - Poetic technique in which the stressed vowel is at the end of the line
  • Tonach - Wash; washing the dead.
Worldbuilding June Day 4 - History

The supercontinent of Ge Plia was originally discovered in the 310th year of the Czar’s Calendar, by a science fleet of Sea Lions and Birds sent out from the confederations of the North Pole to observe a projected solar eclipse. They missed the eclipse, sadly, but the map they brought back made for an excellent consolation prize. News of the discovery spread through Au Gera, until then the only known continent, like wildfire, and the discovered lands were named for the Plia, the gods of legend who made their homes across the seas.


Any sense of reverence was short-lived, however; within four years, the Otter houses had established their first colony in the new lands as part of their race for economic dominance over each other. Further colonies sprung up in the following months, dotted along Ge Plia’s eastern coast- low-lying lands whose rainforests ran rich with crops and meat.

The Hyena Czar at the time was initially slow to grasp the threat; their enemies were finally distracted somewhere else and not bothering them, after all. But her advisors gradually convinced her that the Otters would one day harass them again, and with a stronger fleet if their colonies provided the wealth hoped for.

As a strategic counter, it became clear that the Hyenas would need to establish their own colony in Ge Plia. Open war in the rainforest was not viewed as strategically sound; however, the entire interior plateau of the continent had yet to be significantly explored, due to its height making the approach challenging. The Otters didn’t have the means to establish a feasible route, but the Hyenas were more amenable to asking for help…


And so, in the year 323, the Hyenas partnered with the engineering talents of the Cats to establish Fort Anticode at the top of a waterfall spilling from Platea. Access to the fort, and the lakes and rivers beyond, was provided via a single Cat-built canal lock, spanning a greater elevation than had ever been seen in Au Gera. While the long cycle time needed to fill and discharge it limited access, it was sufficient to keep the fort supplied; the Cats stayed on for the long-term project of operating the lock and engineering a segmented, higher-throughput counterpart.

This move did not go unnoticed; in 325 the local Otter colonies attempted to lay siege to Fort Anticode, blocking supply ships. By then, though, Anticode had established agriculture fields in Toja Plia’s floodplain; furthermore, the rule of high ground proved itself again, as the Fort bombarded the besieging ships with near-impunity.

Despite the successful defense, it was clear that Anticode needed to be able to coordinate its protection- especially if the hopes to leverage a civilian workforce to extract resources were to come to fruition. As such, in the year 327, the Czar appointed Governess Kuva as the empire’s first political office in the hemisphere.


A modern student of Anticode history might be surprised to learn that Kuva’s tenure lasted a mere 9 years, as her policies laid the framework for much of the city’s present form. Fueled by a personal love for civil engineering, she established the Architecture Commission that still maintains Anticode’s distinctive white-adobe construction style, adopted the flood-resistant elevated streets on the Cats’ recommendation, and enforced strict land-use policies that kept the city dense yet fed.

Although the city economy boomed under her watch, this was arguably an accident; her early investments in infrastructure were meant, in the short-term, to merely be productive ways to keep the population employed until the “real” canal lock was completed decades down the line.

While obvious in retrospect, the realization of loggers that lumber from the Skyline Forest to the north could simply be thrown down the waterfall to be collected by ships stationed below gave Anticode a valuable bulk export much earlier than projected. The fort was redesignated as a city before Kuva left office.

The next few decades saw a flood of immigrant workers, particularly Foxes and Wolves, to support the growing logging industry. With migrants passing through Anticode’s port on the way to the northern logging camps, and returning to the city on breaks to spend their coin, many other businesses sprung up, to provide the loggers with tools, food, lodging, culture, and… companionship.


As impressive as Anticode was architecturally, it wasn’t really designed for Birds, a minority group whose flight abilities made them popular to contract as logging and mining scouts and surveyors. When it came time for them to settle down in life, they favored exploring eastwards, where they settled the Ge Shannil Canyon.

North of the canyon was the Selamere Mountains, where Bird scouts who had been employed by the Otters took refuge after their employers refused to return them home. They struck up much better relations with their canyon counterparts, such that the canyon and mountain regions merged culturally.


Before the Grand Canal Lock (better known by its local nickname, The Staircase) was completed in 349, Anticode- only able to take three ships a day- had already become the hemisphere’s premier center of culture. After The Staircase ended its isolation, it became a world power nearly overnight.

The city’s sawmills and carpenters, originally constrained by the fact that detailed carvings and furniture were too delicate to survive a drop over the falls, could now expand their operations and export goods via merchant ships. Likewise, the mining industry’s ability to export caused them to undergo a boom much as the lumber industry had a quarter-century before; a second wave of mass immigration followed accordingly.


The Otter colonies, meanwhile, had not fared as well. Although they had far easier access to both resources and the sea, their development was sabotaged by political infighting and trade restrictions with the rest of the world. They were left to look on in envy as Anticode became the face of Ge Plia to the world.

Starting around the year 355, Otter-backed pirates began waylaying convoys to and from Anticode; although attacks were rare in practice, most traders demanded protective escort, which the Hyena military consented to provide for a fee.

This system lasted for a couple decades; however, as the Otter-Hyena border conflicts began heating back up in Au Gera, the Hyena military had to charge ever-increasing fees to justify diverting valuable ships to escort duty. As the Hyenas’ fees grew burdensome, Anticode raised its own navy in 370, dedicated to merchant escort at more attractive prices.


At the time, this was a win-win situation; merchants had cheaper protection, the Hyena military didn’t have to split its focus across the world, and Anticode had an intoxicating taste of independence. But over the next 40 years, Anticode began to increasingly view its mother nation as unnecessary; they grew their own food and had their own navy, what did the Hyena empire do for them anymore besides tax them and appoint governors?

In 410, Anticode declared independence. The gambit proved successful; after 3 days of naval battles, the Czar admitted the folly of trying to capture a city located on top of a waterfall by sea, withdrew all forces from the city and surroundings, and irately slapped some tarrifs on Anticode.


Of course, the Otters were quick to test the power vacuum; piracy surged over the next few years, and poor-quality rumors flew of an Otter army being raised along the Selamere border.

This motivated the 416 formalization of a defense and trade alliance between the city of Anticode, the logging towns that sprang up north of it, and the Bird settlements of Selamere.

24 years later is the present, 440 Z.C. (Czar’s Calendar)

Platea has not been attacked by Otters yet, despite their posturing. Anticode is starting to crowd, as the frontier opens up.

The Case of the Tully Monster

Sometimes, real life can be far, far stronger than fiction.

Tullimonstrum gregarium is an animal from the late Carboniferous of Illinois that’s served as a reliable source of headaches for paleontologists for a while now, because it’s been really hard to classify–ideas have been thrown around, but nothing solid ever came up. We’ve got plenty of complete fossils, we know what it looked like, but… as far as we could tell, it just didn’t look like anything else.

But, as of this Wednesday, March 16th, the mystery has been solved. A group of Yale researchers pored over and analyzed more than a thousand fossils of these guys and finally managed to come up with a clear, accurate, and realistic restoration of what this animal was like in real life:

Yup. Clear as day.

Keep reading

One day, one rhyme- Day 878

Low lying land near eerie swamp,
Sure to receive a lot of fog;
Hard wood floors, great to clomp and stomp;
High ceilings echo dialogue;
All furniture is unsecured,
So can be scraped about with ease;
Large brick basement where all are lured;
Nice space between walls, no more squeeze;
Hidden passageways, with spy-holes
Behind creepy portraits in paint;
Large rooms, to meet all ‘wailing’ goals;
Old floorboards creak without restraint;
Plenty of pictures on the walls,
Ready to fling at any time;
Terrible lighting in the halls
To make creepy shadows sublime;
Nearby substation provides hum
Of unsettling background music;
Throughout, the decor is grey glum;
Old staircases that squeak and click;
Outdoor fire pit and drowning pool;
Has been the scene of seven heists;
Air-con for ghostly breezes cool":
Selling realty to poltergeists.